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I wasn't invited to a family wedding. Do I still need to send a gift?

With relaxed mask mandates across the country, we’re about to dive headfirst back into wedding season ... and all the questions that come with it.
Illustration of hands holding gift with a married couple below the box.
What is the etiquette regarding giving gifts?TODAY Illustration / Getty Images
/ Source: TMRW

Caroline Moss is an author and host of the podcast "Gee Thanks, Just Bought It," which helps people find the products they need to make life easier, better and more productive. Now with this column, "Asking for a Friend," she's helping people with the advice they need to make life easier, better and more productive. To submit a question, email us at tmrwadvice@nbcuni.com.

Hi Caroline,

My husband and I were not invited to his second cousin's wedding. What is the etiquette regarding giving gifts, and what would a recommendation be for that gift?

Thanks,

Lost In The Registry

Hi LITR!

Great question. Wedding season is upon us and with relaxed mask mandates across the country, we’re about to dive headfirst back into the world of white gowns, cocktail attire, dance floors, olive tapenade appetizers that leave no one feeling less hungry and, of course, everyone’s favorite: gift giving.

Gift giving is a fun ritual that can help you celebrate the newly married couple and show your appreciation for being included in their wedding day. It is by no means a requirement, whether you are attending the wedding or not. In any case of gift giving, it should be done out of desire and not out of obligation. There is no hard and fast rule that says a wedding gift has to be X amount of dollars or require X amount of effort. The idea is that it is a socially acceptable gesture to say, “Thank you for inviting me to your wedding. I know it was probably an expensive endeavor and I’ve purchased this blender that you wanted to say I am so happy for you and your new spouse. Enjoy making smoothies.”

The long and short of it: You don’t have to get your second cousin a wedding gift if you weren’t invited to the wedding. If you would like to get them a wedding gift, then I would see if they have set up an online registry and purchase something small within your budget and send it with a thoughtful note.

Or, just send the note! Or, just the gift. Or maybe you don’t want to do either! Your choice. If you were invited and attending the wedding, I would encourage you to give a gift or write a card, but since you are not invited or attending, etiquette says anything goes.

Have a question for Caroline? Email us at tmrwadvice@nbcuni.com.